BOP Studios Adventure

06 Jul

BOP Studios Adventure

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During the winter holidays of 2016, Emile, Lorenz and Kate went on a road-trip to visit Bophuthatswana Recording Studios (BOP). The journey there is about 300km from Pretoria to the outskirts of Mafikeng.  The MIA airport that is no longer used means there is quite a long day involved in using the space for sessions.

BOP is a well-known institution in the South African music industry for recording some greats such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba and even the Soweto String Quartet back in its day. The studio was also once listed in the top 3 residential studios in the world with its very own resort and was also used in the 90’s for the recording of the Lion King soundtrack.

When BOP first started there was a lack of interest in recording in South Africa from any Western artists due to the Apartheid regime. Then in the early 90s the studios were operated by the South African Broadcasting Corporation until they decided to discontinue their funding in 2003. The studio was then bought at auction in 2004 and re-opened in 2006. It’s currently owned by Saj Chudry.  

EMENDY College visited the studios to test the convolution reverb of the studios. The convolution process is used to create a digital simulation of the reverberation of a physical or virtual space.

When we actually arrived at the studios, it felt as though we had time jumped into the 90s themselves.  It’s hardly surprising that the complex that has been mostly closed for nearly a decade seemed rather nostalgic of a by-gone era and was in serious need of renovation and repairs.

The equipment that was once just a dream for any engineer or producer now sits, dysfunctional and just as display. The back rooms have had some major water damage and a lot of the recording equipment has actually gone missing.

During the visit we met some cool guys from the Celtic metal band, Haggis and Bong, who were laying down some bagpipes for their upcoming album release. They had brought in an outside engineer and modern equipment for their session which seems to be the best way to use the recording space going forward.

We took a tour of the entire property thanks to the current, really cool grounds keeper. Studio 2 and 3 were slightly smaller than the main recording space and so we decided to set up in Studio 1 instead. The studio, apart from its control room is still a beautiful, acoustic space and we got some great results from our testing.

A special thanks to Haggis and Bong for letting EMENDY College in the studios during their sessions, we are looking forward to the new album.

See all the photos, videos and day's events that took place on our facebook page


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